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Lockheed Hudson

The Lockheed Hudson was an American-built light bomber and coastal reconnaissance aircraft built initially for the Royal Air Force shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and primarily operated by the RAF thereafter.

The Hudson was a military conversion of the Model 14 Super Electra airliner and was the first significant aircraft construction contract for Lockheed the initial RAF order for 200 Hudson’s far surpassed any previous order the company had received.

The Hudson served throughout the war, mainly with Coastal Command but also in transport and training roles, as well as delivering agents into occupied France.

It was also used extensively with the Royal Canadian Air Force’s anti-submarine squadrons and by the Royal Australian Air Force.

In late 1937 Lockheed sent a cutaway drawing of the Model 14 to various publications, showing the new aircraft as a civilian aircraft and converted to a light bomber.

This attracted the interest of various air forces and in 1938, the British Purchasing Commission sought an American maritime patrol aircraft for the United Kingdom to support the Avro Anson.

The Commission ordered 200 aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force and the first aircraft started flight trials from Burbank, California on 10 December 1938.

The flight trials showed no major issues, and deliveries to the RAF began on 15 February 1939.

Production was sped up after the British indicated they would order another 50 aircraft if the original 200 could be delivered before the end of 1939.

Lockheed sub-contracted some parts assembly to Rohr Aircraft of San Diego and increased its workforce, allowing the company to produce the 250th aircraft seven and a half weeks before the deadline.

A total of 350 Mk I and 20 Mk II Hudson’s were supplied (the Mk II had different propellers).

These had two fixed Browning machine guns in the nose and two more in the Boulton Paul dorsal turret.

The Hudson Mk III added one ventral and two beam machine guns and replaced the 1,100 hp Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9-cylinder radials with 1,200 hp versions (428 produced).

The Hudson Mk V (309 produced) and Mk VI (450 produced) were powered by the 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two-row radial.

The RAF also obtained 380 Mk IIIA and 30 Mk IV Hudson’s under the Lend-Lease programs.


Model 414

Company designation for the military A-28 / A-29 and Hudson variants.

Hudson I

Production aircraft for the Royal Air Force (RAF); 351 built and 50 for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Hudson II

As the Mk I but with spinner less constant speed propellers; 20 built for the RAF and 50 for the RAAF.

Hudson III

Production aircraft with retractable ventral gun position; 428 built.

Hudson IIIA

Lend-lease variants of the A-29 and A-29A aircraft; 800 built.

Hudson IV

As Mk II with ventral gun removed; 30 built and RAAF Mk I and IIs were converted to this standard.

Hudson IVA

52 A-28s delivered to the RAAF.

Hudson V

Mk III with two 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4-G Twin Wasp engines; 409 built.

Hudson VI

A-28As under lend-lease; 450 built.


US Military designation powered by two 1,050 hp (780 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-45 engines; 52 lend-lease to Australia as Hudson IVA.


US Military designation powered by two 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-67 engines, interiors convertible to troop transports; 450 lend-lease to RAF/RCAF/RNZAF as Hudson VI; 27 units passed to the Brazilian Air Force.


US Military designation powered by two 1,200 hp (890 kW) Wright R-1820-87 engines; lend lease version intended for the RAF, 153 diverted to United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) as the RA-29 and 20 to the United States Navy (USN) as the PBO-1.


as A-29 but with convertible interiors as troop transports; 384 lend-lease to the RAF/RAAF/RCAF/RNZAF Chinese Air Force as Hudson IIIA, some retained by USAAF as the RA-29A.


24 of the 153 A-29s retained by the USAAF converted for photo-survey.


Gunnery trainer version of the A-29 powered by two Wright R-1820-87 engines, 217 built.


Navigational trainer version with dorsal turret removed, 83 built.


Provisional designation changed to A-29A.


Twenty former RAF Hudson IIIAs repossessed for use by Patrol Squadron 82 (VP-82) of the USN





44 ft 4 in (13.51 m)


65 ft 6 in (19.96 m)


11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)

Wing area

551 sq ft (51.2 m2)

Empty weight

11,630 lb (5,275 kg)

Gross weight

17,500 lb (7,938 kg)


2 × Wright GR-1820-G102A Cyclone,

9-cylinder radial engines,

1,100 hp (820 kW) each


Maximum speed

246 mph (396 km/h, 214 kn) at 6,500 ft (2,000 m)

Cruise speed

220 mph (350 km/h, 190 kn)


1,960 mi (3,150 km, 1,700 nmi)

Service ceiling

25,000 ft (7,600 m)

Rate of climb

2,180 ft/min (11.1 m/s)



2 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in dorsal turret

2× .303 Browning machine guns in nose


1,400 lb (640 kg) of bombs or depth charges.



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